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September 1, 2014, 12:39 pm

Teen fatally shot in West Philly

Homicide detectives are trying to determine the motive behind a shooting in West Philadelphia on Wednesday night, April 2 that left a 16-year-old boy dead the next day.

The victim, whose name was not released by Tribune press time, was critically wounded after being struck several times by gunfire as he was walking out of a corner grocery store in the vicinity of 62nd and Callowhill streets.

According to Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson Officer Christine O’Brien, the incident happened around 8:10 p.m. The victim was one of four teens who was in the neighborhood visiting relatives. He was asked to go to the nearby Koury Grocery and when he walked out of the store, a dark-colored Pontiac sedan with tinted windows drove past. Someone from the passenger side began firing, striking the teen four times in the head, chest and arms. He was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in critical condition and died Thursday morning, May 3.

The motive still remains unknown, but authorities believe the incident was a case of mistaken identity.

In a series of unrelated criminal investigations, law enforcement authorities said there have been a surge of robberies around the campuses of Drexel and Temple Universities. According to Drexel’s Public Safety office, in the past three weeks there have been a series of robberies in the early morning hours west and north of the campus. So far, no one has been injured.

The suspects have been described as two Black males, 18- to 25-years of age and wearing hooded sweatshirts.

“Drexel Police and security patrols have been increased in marked and unmarked vehicles. Philadelphia Police have also added uniformed and plainclothes officers to the area, and are working with Drexel Public Safety to identify and apprehend these perpetrators,” said a statement released by Drexel’s public safety department. “Public Safety suggests that you take appropriate caution when walking on or around campus. Walk in groups, and avoid displaying valuables and the use of distracting devices such as cell phones or music players.”

Temple University also reported several robberies around the immediate streets near the campus over recent weeks, but officials say it’s not true that there is a rise of incidents on the campus.

“The notion that robberies are on the rise on the campus is false,” said Ray Betzner, spokesman for the university. “On April 10 there was a robbery on the campus in which a cell phone was taken, but no gun was used in that incident. Now in the immediate areas around the campus, there have been eight robberies and three of those incidents were armed robberies. Arrests were made in three of those cases. Since January 1st of 2012 there have been a total of nine robberies.”

In another unrelated criminal investigation, three suspects were arrested following a tense situation in which three family members were held hostage during the attempted robbery of an Asian takeout restaurant.

The incident began at about midnight Wednesday at the Hong Heng store at 4201 Ogden Street in West Philadelphia. According to police, neighbors observed what they said were three suspicious Black males wearing hoodies and following the store’s owner inside. Police were called to the scene, but when officers arrived the metal security grates were down. Officers heard crying from inside and called in the SWAT team. After several hours, the family was released and the suspects were arrested. The suspects have been identified as Anthony Jackson, 20, Demetrius Young, 20, and Kaneef Smith, 21. They have been charged with criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, aggravated assault and related offenses.